Sri Vishnu Shiva Mandir Canberra is a place of worship for Hindus and who can pray, study religion, practice yoga, develop cultural awareness, and attend and take part in music, dance classes and cultural programs. Sri Vishnu Shiva Mandir is located in Mawson, a suburb of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.
The Mandir is operated by the Mandir Society of Australia Incorporated, a not-for-profit society incorporated in 1989. The society had existed informally since 1979 and resolved to build a Mandir in 1986.
The Mandir is for people to pray, meditate and perform community activites, as well as hosting a public library focusing on South Asian literature and culture.
The picturesque national capital of Australia is bestowed with serenity and divinity by the Vishnu Shiva Mandir. Founded in the true traditions of ancient Shaiva and Vaishnava agama (traditions), this holy shrine stands as a beacon of Hindu religion, spreading the messages of Bhakti (devotion) and Vedanta (Hindu philosophy).
The Maha Kumbhabhishekam (Consecration ceremony) of this Mandir was conducted by the renowned Agama Pandit Dr. T. S. Sambamurthi Sivachariar on 1 June 1997. The Maha Kumbhabhishekam ceremony, which was publicised in the national and international media, was conducted in the presence of the Hon. John Howard MP, the Prime Minister of Australia.
While declaring that there is only one God, Hinduism uses symbolism and deities extensively to convey lofty ideals and complex concepts to ordinary people. This approach facilitates and inspires us to evolve to higher levels of consciousness and perfection. Since men vary in their approach and ideals and may wish to use different paths to the final spiritual goal, the ancient seers devised the various idols and altars, so that by placing their faith in their chosen deity they would lift themselves to the heights of perfection represented by the deity. Thus a host of gods and goddesses have been provided, each one a reflection of the supreme reality; each idol representing an ideal behind it.
Ganesha, Shiva & Parvati, Murugan, Maha Devi, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana & Hanuman, Prasanna Venkateswara, Radha & Krishna, and the Navagrahas are the deities installed in the Mandir for bestowing everlasting happiness and divine knowledge to the seekers and the bhaktas (devotees). They are very rewarding deities to whom a devotee can turn for support in times of joy and succour in times of distress.
We had learnt that Jehovah’s Witnesses built their Kingdom Halls in a miraculous manner in a matter of days, using voluntary labour. We decided to try that method. To our surprise, one kind-hearted plant operator agreed to borrow an excavator from his friend and levelled the entire land in two days time. That was another turning point. A very large number of individuals assisted in completing this Mandir. The list is very long. The Mandir would not have been completed without them. They are angels who helped in building the God’s abodes. The floor stage was completed “Braham Shila” laid in November 1993 by Mr Bob McMullen, then Federal Minister for Trade.
After completing the Mandir, we needed to build concrete decorations, as earlier planned. The selected Sthapati Rajagopalan could not speak English. He decided to involve an English speaking manager. The workers arrived in Canberra on 22 January 1996 and work continued satisfactorily only so long as the Sthapati was in Canberra. The construction phase of the work and the situation became intolerable after his departure from Canberra. Hence the workers returned to India on 10 November 1996. Mrs R Sharma and the managing committee provided invaluable support during this difficult period. We contacted Sthapati Sri Nagarajanl, whom I had Contacted previously also. He Came to Canberra in January l997 and agreed to complete the Mandir work subject to a number of changes. A new set of workers reached Canberra on 8 March 1997. The completion of the Mandir is only due to the hard work of Sthapathi Baskaran and his team – S Kuruppiah, Ramados and Bhoominathan.
Nothing happened for some nine months. The construction work recommenced on 15 August 1994 and the Mandir Building was opened on 27 November 1994 by Mr Bill Wood, then ACT Minister for Land, Environment Planning. The spiritual occasional discourse was given by Rev. Gopeshawari Devi. Since that day the Mandir has been opened every Sunday and on all auspicious days. The devotional pujas performed by Sri L Prasad, Sri Mani and Sri K Venkatraman have been greatly appreciated.
After our first letter dated 22 March 1996 and the follow-up, the Prime Minister Hon. John Howard agreed on 22 August 1996 to open the Mandir at a mutually convenient date. On 29 April 1997 the PM’s office informed us that he would be delighted to open the Mandir on 1 June 1997 and no other date is available for another six months. This short notice for the opening is our excuse for any deficiencies that might be experienced or noted today. Thus the long series of hurdles that have been overcome in the completion of this Mandir has really been built by our Gods, for our benefit. In the interest of brevity, a number of details have been omitted from the above synopsis. We will be happy to provide the details to an interested historian. May the gods living in the Mandir continue their blessings on the Mandir and all of us. The Maha Kumbhabhishekam (Consecration ceremony) of this Mandir was conducted by the renowned Agama Pandit Dr. T. S. Sambamurthi Sivachariar on 1 June 1997. The Maha Kumbhabhishekam ceremony, which was publicised in the national and international media, was conducted in the presence of the Hon. John Howard MP, the Prime Minister of Australia.
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